It’s Good Friday people (three days before Easter Sunday), the day many Irish people go mad buying drink because the pubs and off-licences are closed tomorrow. It’s like a mini national emergency with supermarkets being emptied of their alcoholic contents. A few years back a friend’s brother loaded his van with drink of all sorts and sent the word out that he’d do deliveries should anyone run out of drink. It being a public holiday here in Ireland there are lots of parties on Good Friday and he had emptied the van of its contents by around 11pm. He had to turn his phone off about 1am he was getting that many calls. We’re a mad race but apparently we don’t drink as much as people from Luxemburg so there’s hope for us yet.
Listening to Music Again
My next guest is an Irish musician called Mumblin’ Deaf Ro. I was put onto him by a friend of mine who said his latest album, Dictionary Crimes, was exceptional. I had heard, and loved, his first album in 2003 but hadn’t kept up with his music since. I’m interviewing him over the next couple of days and while I was researching his work, critical reaction etc. I started listening to his latest album over and over. Last night it brought me to the verge of tears 3 times (I’m a grown man, I don’t cry properly). The album’s lyrics cover a 5 year period of his life during which time he cared for and lost his Mother, became a father to two boys, and lost a child to miscarriage. What Ro manages to do brilliantly in the album is relay the everyday sadness, the putting away the shopping sadness. He doesn’t flinch in the face of this sadness, he doesn’t look away. He manages melancholy without maudlin, tragedy without closure, honesty without self obsession. It’s a beautiful, understated, album made all the more powerful by the frailty of his voice. On the evidence of the album there is no frailty in his heart.
I hardly ever listen to music at all anymore let alone albums from start to finish. My love of podcasts began about 7 years ago and has increased in direct proportion to the decrease in my music listening. I’ve turned into one of those guys who used to annoy me when I’d recommend a good fictional read, they’d arrogantly inform me that they only read non-fiction. I always felt I learned at least as much about ourselves, the world, and our place in it from fiction. It’s the same with this album. I could listen to a hundred podcasts about parenthood, and dealing with death, and how couples overcome miscarriages, and still not be moved to tears like I was last night. I’d forgotten the power of music to connect with me on that level. I remember it now.
Welcome back music.
To hear, and purchase, Mumblin’ Deaf Ro’s music go to the site below. If you want to have your heart broken I’d recommend Little Mite, The Birdcage, and Cade Calf Call.
For more information on the album Dictionary Crimes visit the excellent blog that accompanies the album here:
To see Ro perform the haunting Cheer Up Charlie Brown at last year’s Meteor Choice Music Prize awards go to: